Hello everybody! I’m Martina, I’m currently a second year European Studies student and I am running to be your LGBTQ+ officer. I am committed to making King’s a safer and more inclusive space for all LGBTQ+ folks. King’s prides itself on being an inclusive community that celebrates diversity and queer solidarity. We see this around campus with gender-neutral toilets, pride neck straps and LGBTQ+ history month. But is this really enough?
Although there has been enormous progress to create a safer environment for our community, we cannot ignore the numerous challenges, hardships and the marginalisation that we queer folks still have to face. Marsha P. Johnson once said: "no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us" and this is exactly why I will make sure that all our voices are heard and all our identities valued!
What will I do?
Visibility, inclusivity, unity.
These are the 3 key principles behind my agenda. If elected, I will fight for our visibility. I will fight to bridge the divides in our community. I will fight to make King’s a truly inclusive and empowering environment where we can all walk, learn and prosper without fear of expressing our identities.
I have identified 5 key aspects concerning our community and I have come up with concrete solutions to tackle them:
LGBTQ+ tailored career guidance
I believe that it is essential to support all students in their career advancement. However, the university’s career guidance services tend to reflect heteronormative assumptions that do not take into consideration the unique challenges and barriers that we, LGBTQ+ folks, have to face. As we experience more discrimination in the workplace and have fewer opportunities than our cis straight counterparts, it is essential to create a service tailored to the unique needs of our community.
I will make this happen by:
Ensuring that career guidance counsellors receive LGBTQ+ centred training, especially concerning the challenges of QTPOCs as they face the biggest barriers and discrimination in and out of the workplace
Advocating for the creation of an LGBTQ+ and racial minorities centred career service that can support and provide career advice tailored for the needs of LGBTQ+ and POC students
Organising networking opportunities that are LGBTQ+ inclusive
Queering the curriculum
University curriculums tend to be heteronormative and ciscentric which reinforce the erasure of LGBTQ+ identities and experiences. In my two years of studies in social political subjects here at king’s, I have noticed a real lack of consideration for queer discourses and issues. As feminist and postcolonial discourses are already part of many course components, it would not be hard to incorporate a queer lens!
Queering the curriculum not only gives more visibility to queer identities but it can benefit all students by deepening their knowledge and by challenging the normative view. It is time that King’s courses reflect the diversity of King’s community.
In order to create queer visibility in course modules I will:
advocate for the inclusion of queer discourses in the syllabuses of relevant modules, especially in the departments of Arts & Humanities and Social Science & Public Policy
Work alongside academic staff members to discuss and find the best ways to incorporate queer perspectives and authors in modules
QTPOC safe space
As queer people, we face discrimination and challenges related to our gender identity, sexuality and gender expression wherever we go. However, it is important to acknowledge the discrimination that happens within our community as well. Therefore we must tackle the racism and transphobia that are deeply present in our community.
I will fight to create a more intersectional space at King’s and a more united queer community, especially for our QTPOC siblings, by:
LGBTQ+ mental health support
Our community suffers from mental health issues at a disproportionately high rate. This is due to the recurrent discrimination and stigmas that we face, but also due to a lack of adequate support. I will address this issue by providing queer students, especially QTPOCs with mental health support tailored to LGBTQ+ needs.
To accomplish this I will:
Advocate for the appointment of counsellors specialised in LGBTQ+ mental health and queer identities
Enhance “EXHALE”, king’s LGBTQ+ Mental Health Support Group which provides a safe space to talk about mental health. This will be done by increasing the frequency of meetings and advertising the project more vigorously around the campus and online as most students are unaware of it.
Make resources about LGBTQ+ mental health and wellbeing more accessible by creating a masterpost document on LGBTQ+ mental health, available services and professional advice to be made available on King’s mental health website.
Queer sexual health awareness
As the access to LGBTQ+ sex education is very limited due to most of the available information being centred around heteronormative and cis-gender sexual health, it causes LGBTQ+ folks to not have the necessary education to stay safe and healthy. In order to ensure that we can all make informed decisions about our sexual health, I pledge to:
Follow me on instagram for updates and check out my website to know more about my agenda!
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